Just a year ago, senior Jordan Diekema was finishing up his third year on the swim team and his younger sister, sophomore Courtney Diekema, was completing her rookie season on the women’s soccer squad.
But how things have changed in the past year.
Now, Jordan has taken up club cycling, and his sister has moved from Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium to the Charles River.
It wasn’t until Courtney suffered a foot injury towards the end of the spring season that the thought of not playing soccer ever crossed her mind.
“I had planned on playing soccer through all four years until last spring,” Courtney said. “But now I have a chronic foot problem, a broken bone in my foot, and soccer isn’t really conducive to that.”
Last summer, with encouragement from her mother, Courtney took a crash course in rowing and learned the basics of crew. She then began emailing coaches, who expressed interest, and she walked onto Radcliffe heavyweight crew in the fall.
For Jordan, the decision to join cycling came even later. He had been out for all of the 2009-2010 swim season with health problems and was unsure whether he would continue swimming until last September.
“I just needed something different,” Jordan said. “Coming up after a season of inactivity was kind of brutal, so it was time to do something that I was just going to have fun with. I had been riding for years, but I’d never raced before until the fall. It was a new experience but it’s been going really well.”
Despite being faced with an unexpected transition, the Diekemas have been able to make the shift to a new sport quickly and smoothly. This is especially true with Jordan’s move from a varsity team to a club team, as the former requires much more time than the latter.
“Because cycling’s a club sport there’s a lot less organization and a lot less of what they can require of you,” Jordan said. “It’s more self-motivated, more on my clock, and it’s nice to be in a little bit more control.”
But the more free time and fewer required practices do not mean that club cycling is easier than varsity swimming.
“At the same time, it’s harder to motivate yourself and get up out of bed because you don’t have to do it necessarily,” Jordan added.
For Courtney, the transition has been more of the opposite.
“There is definitely a lot more time commitment with crew than with soccer,” she said.
But for her, it is time well spent, evident from her win in this weekend’s race at the Beanpot regatta and her invitation to row this summer with a U-23 Pre-Elite camp.